Community grants

Closed: Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) grant

The VCS Cost of Living Grant aims to help charities, community organisations and community interest companies that support people in poverty and which are struggling with the increasing cost of delivering services due to the rising cost of living.

The scheme launched on Wednesday 1 February 2023 and closed for applications at 5pm on Friday 10 March 2023. Depending on take-up and allocations we will hold a further bidding round.

A total of £120,000 is available and the fund will award grants of between £2,000 to £10,000, which can be used towards an organisation’s increased running costs for the next year.

Charities, constituted community organisations, or community interest companies limited by guarantee; with an annual income of up to £600,000 can apply to this fund.

Successful applicants

Successful applicants for the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) grant


Amount funded

Flittabus Community Transport 


Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society


The Need Project


Acorn Playgroup 


The Hayward Club 




Leighton Linslade Homeless Service


Northall and District Day Centre


Kings Church Flitwick


BrightPaths Support CIC


Langford Welfare Trust 


Reclaim Life


Leighton Linslade Helpers




Freddie and Friends Sunshine Stop


Trinity Methodist Church 


Clophill Village Hall 


Full House Theatre 


Parkside Community Hall


Shillington Village Hall 


Kids in Action 


Families United Network




Eligibility criteria

To be eligible:

  • your organisation must be a charity, a constituted community organisation or a community interest company
  • your organisation must be based in or have a focus and connection to Central Bedfordshire
  • your organisation’s annual income is less than £600,000
  • you need to supply evidence of the impact of the increase in the cost of living on the applicant organisation

What the grant can be used for

This VCS grant scheme will provide funding as a one-off grant to help fund increases in any of the following costs, which can be used towards an organisation's increased running costs for the next year:

  • staff and volunteer costs
  • utility costs, such as energy
  • rent
  • food and drink
  • increased transport costs

You can also apply to fund other running costs if you have seen and can evidence that these costs have increased significantly recently.

Details of the costs should be set out in your application.

What the grant can't be used for

The grant won't fund:

  • organisations that do not meet our eligibility criteria
  • responsibilities of statutory agencies
  • profit-making work
  • party political activity
  • activities promoting religious beliefs
  • work outside the UK
  • applications from individuals
  • overseas travel
  • interest payments on loans
  • building purchase
  • costs that your organisation has already incurred (‘retrospective costs’)

Who can apply

A wide range of groups can apply, but they must have a Central Bedfordshire focus and connection. These include:

  • voluntary and community groups
  • not-for-profit organisations
  • formally constituted groups
  • community groups/associations
  • charities
  • community interest companies
  • community benefit societies
  • faith groups (in relation to their wider community role)

Applicants must have a UK bank account. It cannot be a personal bank account used for personal finances.

We will prioritise:

  • smaller organisations with lower annual income levels
  • organisations that are significantly impacted by increasing costs (those organisations which have running costs that have increased significantly and where the organisation's reserves are low)
  • organisations which are supporting residents facing cost-of-living pressures and poverty with access to food and support

Who can't apply

People who can't apply include:

  • individuals for personal benefit
  • anyone delivering statutory functions
  • organisations with no local connection

Match funding

Match funding isn't required for this grant.

Decision making

Each application will be checked for eligibility (see sections above on eligibility criteria, who can apply, what the grant is for and what it is not for).

Once an application has completed and passed its eligibility check, a panel will review each application and prioritise organisations:

  • with lower annual income levels
  • that are significantly impacted by increasing costs (those organisations which have running costs that have increased significantly and where the organisation's reserves are low)
  • which are supporting residents who are facing cost-of-living pressures and poverty with access to food and support

The panel will contain officers from the following teams:

  • community and voluntary service
  • Beds RCC
  • public health
  • community engagement
  • finance

The panel will recommend the organisations for funding to our Director of Resources who will make the final decision.

Feedback will be given to unsuccessful applicants but, subject to funds being available for a further bidding round, unsuccessful applicants can re-apply.


Approved projects will receive an offer letter to confirm their application was successful, setting out the payment terms and conditions. A grant payment via a purchase order will follow.

The minimum grant award is £2,000 and the maximum grant award is £10,000.

Monitoring and accountability

Projects in receipt of a VCS grant are accountable to us and must keep us informed with:

  • evidence that the funding has been devoted to the specific areas proposed in the application
  • an end of project report


Filtering and checking

This will be done on receipt of the application.

Notification of decision

We aim to do this within 2 weeks of the bidding round closing.


Approved projects will be published on our website.

Additional information

Successful applicants will be required to sign up to terms and conditions to receive the grant funding. These will be set out in the grant award offer letter. The terms and conditions will be proportionate to the value of the grant and cover the following:

  • we must be notified if the organisation in receipt of the grant ceases to trade
  • we reserve the right to recover grant funding where it is not being used for the purpose stated in the application
  • any unspent grant funding must be returned at the end of the grant period
  • grant recipients will be responsible for arranging appropriate insurance coverage for their project; this might include public liability insurance, employee liability insurance and public indemnity insurance
  • grant recipients will allow their project to be used for our promotional and publicity purposes where appropriate
  • grant recipients will agree to submit financial details for their scheme where this is requested

If you have any questions or require support regarding your application form and the process, contact us: